Blackstone and his rabbits had made their way across the river and had set to work digging a warren far from Brimstone or the alliance. Their warren laid a two month journey away from Brimstone and even farther from the alliance. Blackstone had sent some of his rabbits to scout around before they had settled here but his scouts had reported while there were elil there didn’t seem to be any risk of the alliance finding them. They had no clue that Thanatos and some Brimstone rabbits had survived the war.
“Blackstone-rah there’s a rabbit on the borders of Moonfell,” Captain Winterberry said. “He’s being held by Pecan and Zen.”
“Is it a rabbit from the alliance?”
“I don’t know Blackstone-rah.”
Blackstone sighed and got up from where he had been lying on the grass before walking following Winterberry down the forest path towards the clearing that opened to the sky. There was a red rabbit sitting between Captain Pecan and Officer Zen.
“Who are you and why have you come here? Are you lost?” Blackstone asked the rabbit.
“Do you know of the rabbits of sadness?”
“No I’m afraid I don’t and neither do my rabbits,” Blackstone said.
“A few of us were set free by a rabbit named Lightstone after Cowslip’s death. We used to live Shining Wire Warren. Then we got news of Silverweed’s death and the spell over us was broken.”
Blackstone tried to remember where he had heard the name of that warren before. “Oh yes I remember. A friend of ours took one of my officers and I to that warren to try to talk to the chiefs of the alliance.”
The rabbit looked at Blackstone. “You’re strange rabbits. A bit like we were when we were enslaved by Cowslip and Silverweed. My name is Redwood and I’m part of Nightdusk. My warren is three days journey from here to the south. Now I must go before my chief wonders where I’ve gone.”
“Wait! How did you know we were here?” Blackstone asked Redwood.
“Kaolin-rah sent me to scout out this warren to see if we could form an alliance together. He was also curious about the rabbits with patterns on their bodies.”
“So you’re a scout?”
“Yes. A few of us are scouts, others are in the Owsla and others are just regular rabbits. Now I must be going. Good day.” Redwood turned south and hopped away.
“Should we go after him Blackstone-rah?” Pecan asked.
“No. He seems to be no threat to us. I’m curious to learn more about Nightdusk though. Perhaps it would be good to send a spy there to see what they can make of the warren. Who is on sentry duty?”
“I am,” Pecan said speaking up. “Along with Officer Birch and Officer Pox. A few others as well.”
Blackstone nodded. “Stay alert then. Position yourselves around the warren and our boundaries.”
Blackstone turned and was followed by Zen and Winterberry as they made their way back to Moonfell. Blackstone went underground to his burrow and lay down thinking. Perhaps Shingetsu or Prince Rainbow would know of the rabbits of Shining Wire Warren.
“Prince Rainbow!” Blackstone said in surprise as the messenger rabbit appeared before him. “Goodness you nearly gave me a heart attack.”
Prince Rainbow laughed at that. “You called Blackstone? What is it you want to learn?”
“I would like to know more of Shining Wire Warren and the rabbits there.”
“Ah the rabbits of sadness. I’m sorry to say their tale is depressing. Are you sure you want to learn of them Blackstone?”
“Yes Light Master.”
“Light master? Oh you’ve been talking to Shingetsu,” Prince Rainbow laughed again. “It is true that I am the master of light and Shingetsu is the master of the dark and shadows. However I think it is best that you see instead of just listen. Get some sleep Blackstone and after morning silflay I will show you their story.”
Shingetsu pushed himself up as the last of the chains was ripped from around his body. He looked up in shock and stared at the blue gray rabbit with sea green eyes. “Hikari!”
“Master Shingetsu,” Hikari said helping Shingetsu stand up and then bowing before her master. “Master we should get out of Ether.”
“Do you dare defy us Hikari?” Taiyo said, his voice deathly quiet. Hikari screamed in pain as a spear flew into her leg sending her to the ground. “Master go!” Hikari’s screams grew louder and more painful as Taiyo and Inazuma advanced on Shingetsu’s servant.
Shingetsu pushed himself to his feet and summoned his power. Condensing it into ice and shadow he threw the shadow ice ball into Taiyo and Inazuma sending them back into the wall. He picked up his blood bond servant and ran quickly for the hole before leaping through as it was just beginning to close.
“Hikari how did you escape the cell that you were held in?”
“Master Shingetsu opened the cell I was in. I sensed master’s presence and ran to you as fast as I could. Luckily Taiyo and Inazuma were more interested in punishing master.” Hikari let out another scream as the pain coursed through her body. “Go to the frozen pool and heal yourself there Hikari. Then go to my burrow and get some rest.”
“What about you master?”
Shingetsu smiled. “I’m the Black Rabbit. It’s a full moon tonight so I’ll heal properly beneath Lady Kuu’s rays.”
“Master did your mate…?”
“Yes Hikari she is free. Thankfully when a rabbit named Blizzard was destroyed it released my snowfall. Now go do as I ordered you to and no more questions.”
“As you wish Dark Master.”
Shingetsu smiled as he watched his servant leave his warren. Hikari too had been forcefully blood bonded to him like Greystorm’s servant had been bonded to Greystorm. Sadly Hikari had been taken from him and held in Ether for fifteen years when Shingetsu had disobeyed the mother and father. They were… quite cruel and it would not do for Greystorm to disobey them.
Shingetsu went down the halls and activated his healing powers as he went. The scratches from the chains disappeared except for the scar across his chest. That scar would never heal or vanish since it had been inflicted in Ether. In reality the other wounds shouldn’t have healed either but Shingetsu had learned in his time in Brimstone to take pain as it was dealt him. All his life he had suffered either at the hands of his old warren, at Frith’s sick orders, in Brimstone and rarely at the hands of the mother and father. His eyes drifted closed as he made his way out of the warren and he collapsed allowing Kuu to heal his body and mind.